Former India bowling coach Bharat Arun on Tuesday revealed how Mohammed Shami evolved to become one of world cricket’s best fast bowlers.
Shami was coming off a stellar Test series in South Africa in 2018, where he was India’s highest wicket-taker with 15 wickets in three matches at an average of 17.06. He picked a stunning five for 28 in the second innings of the third and final Test to help India script a historic 63-run win over the Proteas. However, after failing the fitness test, Shami was left out of the squad for the subsequent one-off Test against Afghanistan and A tour of England.
“I remember an incident when Shami was going through his personal problems. His physical fitness was at the lowest ebb. We were about to go on a tour [A tour] of England. Shami had failed the fitness test. He walked up to Ravi and me and said he was very angry with life. He wanted to give up the sport,” Arun said during a panel discussion titled ‘Role of High Performance Centres in Achieving Excellence in Sports’ at Sportstar’s South Sports Conclave in Chennai. The session was moderated by The Hindu’s Sports Editor K.C. Vijaya Kumar.
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“So, we sat him down and said, ‘Anger is the best thing that can happen to a fast-bowler. So, if you can channelise your anger and use it to get a lot fitter, you would do wonders for yourself.’ We sent him to the NCA (National Cricket Academy), where he was for a month. He trained exceptionally hard, like a maniac bull. I remember him calling me in England and saying, ‘Now I am as strong as a horse, and I am ready to take on the world.’ The rest is history.”
Shami was included in the squad for the tour of England after clearing the fitness test and was back among the wickets, picking 16 wickets in five Tests at 38.87.
He is now part of an Indian pace attack that’s arguably the best in the world.
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